Figurative or literary phrases
The English language, chock-full of thousands of words and quirky borrowed phrases, can be mind-boggling. Take idioms, for instance. These common figurative or literary phrases don’t make much sense at face value. But you use idioms all the time – so often that you might not realise you’re weaving them into your conversations at all.
While it’s impossible to tally up the idioms spoken aloud each day, linguists and word nerds at theidioms.com have put together a list of the most common idioms in English-speaking countries. Ready?
Piece of cake
What could possibly be easier to tackle than a piece of cake? A “piece of cake” is something that’s so deliciously easy you could do it with your eyes closed. Remember not to mix up this idiom by getting carried away with all the sweet talk. Referring to your to-do list as a “pinch of cake” or “peach of cake” might make you look like you’re not the sharpest tool in the shed.
A hot potato
Before heading to the supper table at the next family reunion, you might want to make a note to avoid hot potato political talk. In other words, avoid awkward or controversial topics. According to CulinaryLore.com, this 1800s idiom has a simple explanation: Since baked potatoes remain scorching inside long after they’ve been removed from the heat, “people are always very cautious when handling them.”